In Discussions, Life, Money, Parenting, Retirement

Your children are not investments

Children you have, are not investments.

You have kids as a parent, knowing full well that you may spend about $250,000 until they’re 18 and ready to be shipped off to college or start whatever adult career they want to start, where you’ll spend goodness knows what on their education (if anything at all).

So why is it that my dad thinks we’re investments?

Just recently he asked for:

  • Luxury, all-expenses first-class paid trip to London, England
  • $500 a month (extra) as a sign of “respect” in dole money back to him
  • A new car, because the one that they JUST BOUGHT, is not a luxury Mercedes-Benz

Is he out of his fricking mind?

We had a massive fight over this.

I yelled for a good hour and almost lost my voice, and I’ve been angry ever since.

HE’S TRYING TO SHOW OFF TO HIS BROTHER

It all boiled down to the fact that he’s been comparing what my (millionaire) uncle has gotten from his 3 sons.

They regularly give their parents $500 – $1000 a month as dole money, which works out to about $2500 a month coming in from the kids.

Now, what my uncle failed to mention (and my father has failed to recognize) is:


  • He paid for their 4-year overseas education, tuition and living expenses — $500K minimum each*
  • He gave them each $250,000 for a house or apartment down payment

*Paid for a nice apartment, bought them a new car to drive around while in school, paid living expenses, all food, all equipment, all books.

We’re just at around $750,000 per child. Totally free and clear.

OF COURSE THEY ARE GIVING MONEY BACK TO HIM!

They don’t need to give the money, but they’re doing it because:

  • It’s a sign of ‘respect’ (or so he says, which makes my dad super jealous)
  • They can expect to get the money back when he passes on anyway (this is my thought)
  • They know there’s a fortune on the way of about a million to two million each kid (or more)
  • …in addition to the $750K they have already gotten as their start in life

BUT WHAT HELP HAVE I GOTTEN FROM HIM? SERIOUSLY?

In contrast, what has my father done for me once I turned 18 and left by my own will?

  • Didn’t save that $10,000 they promised they’d set aside for my education from their winnings
  • Didn’t pay for my $60,000 education, nor offer to help me in any way
  • …actually, hasn’t paid for anything since I turned 18, not even letting me stay at home rent-free*

*Not that I care, but people get really surprised when they hear that my parents charge me $600 in rent, in addition to my paying for all the food, cooking, cleaning, snow shovelling, garbage-throwing, helping, etc.

Now all of that above doesn’t matter to me in hindsight.

What bothers me now, is this asking for money, when he hasn’t done anything to (basically) deserve it.

It’s like comparing apples to oranges. The situation of my uncle and his sons, is NOT our situation, and I am not sure my father has told the entire truth to his side of the family.

He probably comes off as the self-sacrificing martyr in his one-sided stories.

I can’t say that going $60,000 into debt was an entirely ruinous experience, because I came out of it for the better, having learned how to manage my money, budget and track my expenses, and otherwise set myself on the path to riches.

Basically, I ended up on the right side of things by luck, and I have no doubt I’ll be a millionaire before 50, it’s just a question of how early before 50.

Currently, I don’t mind paying rent and buying all the groceries (AND cooking, AND cleaning), because it’s nice to be with my mom, having not lived or have been around to help her once I left.

It also isn’t fair to be a parasite on your parents, even if they can afford it.

As an example we could pay about the same amount (or less, actually) of the $600 rent if we lived on our own in Montreal, because we’ve done it before.

In fact, it’s actually costing us MORE money (about $100 – $200/month more) to live here with my parents, but we are choosing to do it for personal reasons. Or at least, I was, to be near to my mom for a little while before I leave for good this time.

This is the first time in years, that I’ve even been back for more than a month, since I left at 19. I’m generally always traveling or in another city, and my mom has told me she has missed me for the past 10+ years I haven’t been around them much.

THEY DON’T NEED THE MONEY

Furthermore, HE DOESN’T EVEN NEED THE DAMN MONEY.

He just wants to spend it on himself, to brag and to front like he’s rich when he isn’t.

RMB-renmenbi-money-China-bills-cash-Stacked

Photograph I took of a stack of yuan we had when we went to China


Selfishly, spending the money that his children have worked hard for, when he himself, hasn’t worked more than 15 hours a week in his life, living off his previous winnings, and using it to gamble in casinos.

Now he wants to mooch off his kids!?

They currently have the mortgage COMPLETELY cleared, and about $4000 a month coming in to cover the household.

As he was in charge of the money, he basically let money slip through their fingers like water their whole lives, not having saved enough for retirement on their own (not that it matters, they have a fairly decent company plan), and not having worked much his ENTIRE life, unlike my mother.

WE WERE HIS INVESTMENT/RETIREMENT PLAN, BUT HE NEVER PUT IN THE WORK OR THE MONEY REQUIRED INTO US

What does my dad really want?

To recoup his “investment” in his children because he feels like we owe him for having paid for ages 0 – 19.

The funny thing is he was a bit of an absent parent when we were growing up, and frankly, didn’t do anything for, or with us for more than 20% of the time.

Did I also mention that he hasn’t worked more than 15 hours a week at minimum wage OR LESS for his ENTIRE life? He spent his days doing.. Nothing. At. All.

Do you know who started doing her laundry at 7? This girl.

My mom was the real core of the house, but she had her own problems and work to handle, on top of trying to clean, cook, feed, prepare for, and help the 4 kids in the house with no help at all from my dad. She just didn’t have the time for us, so we turned independent at an early age.

Photograph-Travel-Shanghai-China-Kid-Dried-Food-Shop

I CAN AFFORD TO GIVE MONEY, BUT NOT FOR THEM TO WASTE IT

I can’t even begin to tell you how upset I’ve been this whole week after our knock’em’down-drag-’em-out-fight.

Yes, I have money.

Yes my other 3 siblings have money.

Yes, we CAN afford to give him money even from our savings and not be destitute, but taking all of the above into account, why should we?

It’s not like we plan on leaving them for dead, but we also don’t see the point of giving him money … for NOTHING.

We’ve already agreed among ourselves that if they have a serious need for the money like a nursing home, healthcare, or anything that threatens their life, we would gladly chip in and pay.

Need $20,000 for a life-saving, critical surgery? I’ll sell my investments to pay for it.

But not if it’s just so you can buy a new car and brag to your brother about how your kids paid for it.

That’s just sheer idiocy.

Let me repeat this again, future and current parents: YOUR CHILDREN ARE NOT INVESTMENTS.

If you want investments, save your money and BUY THEM.

Don’t have children.

We aren’t guaranteed to give anything back, and frankly, they should be happy we didn’t turn out to be losers and drug addicts, with the way that they raised us.


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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49 Comments

  1. A
    Ari Prabowo

    I am sorry that you have to face this situation and I hope you’ve found a way to happiness. It is especially painful since no matter how old we get, no matter the cultural background, we as children look to our parents for love and recognition. I know this from my personal experience.

    Like you and many people commenting this post, I too have experienced this plight. My dad suffers from narcissism, and his sense of entitlement made out family’s financial into a piping hot mess. He lost his job post the 1998 financial crisis and haven’t been able to make a cent for the family, let alone my education and that of my sibling’s. In fact, my mom has been paying everything from the start while taking care of two unruly brats, barely scarping by, while he got all the bragging rights. When he became frustrated, he would let it out on me and my sister, and I felt like a mistake and a world-class reject for the longest time in my life.

    I remembered one time my application for scholarship abroad was accepted. This scholarship would cover all the education expenses, however all the living expenses during school was to be covered by the recipient. When my mom’s side extended family offered to lend the money, he strongly objected and said, with me being present, that I wasn’t worth the money HE could’ve spent to send 10 kids to school inside the country. So basically, to him, I’m an investment asset with a value. What little self-esteem I had back then was crushed, and I was too stupid to realize I could have just ignored his words and went ahead with the plan from my aunts. Damn toxic culture of patriarchy!

    Fast forward to now, I’m getting by holding two unsteady jobs and trying to pay dad’s debt to the bank (using my mom’s name) from some 10 years ago while covering the monthly bills. Did I mentioned he ended up using the money that could sent 10 kids to school and some more on a shady Ponzi scheme where he could bolster his ego by all the ‘feel good’ talk and ‘testosterone’ rush from all his male ‘Up-line Independent Business Owners/Inspiration’?

    Tensions got really high when my mom got hospitalized, and the day she was sent to the ER, he went off to his High School reunion out of town. I was just fuming. Mom was tad mortified, but I guess years of enduring living with my dad left her numb to this sort of behavior. Two days later I got word from my sister that he was bringing his sister home. My aunt was now unemployed but still a notorious big spender, and required that everything was done for her. When she worked and much money, not once did she ever helped my mother out with our family’s financial trouble. Dad then proceeded to COMMAND me to set aside money for her every month and take care of her needs. I refused outright, and when he threatened me with his usual bravado, I snapped and was set to let loose two decades worth of fury. When he saw me angry, screamed, shouted, stomp a tile to a crack, punched the wall and acted like a rabid dog, he reneged and would ‘let me go’ that time.

    We still live in the same house, but since that day, I think he knew that I was no longer under his thumb. I no longer talk to him. I want to move out and take mom and my sibling with me, but she doesn’t seem to want to leave him. I really don’t know why she still puts up him until today. I learn that by setting a clear boundary, being firm in your stance, and managing your expectations from a person with NPD, you can manage to tolerate him.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I am reading your long comment and heartbroken for you. I am sorry you had to also go through your own personal struggle.

      As for your mom and family, remember that the unfamiliar is very difficult. My mother won’t leave my father because she knows him well, versus the unknown of being alone and not having a support.. no matter how toxic.

      I truly felt it in my heart, your comment. Thank you.

      Reply
  2. J
    Jeff

    I have to disagree with you on this one, I think kids should be considered a part of your investments. Since the industrial revolution financial investments have on average outperformed children, but that is going to change in the upcoming generation. Historically US equities yielded 9.5%/year over the last century. If we consider 20 years to be the investment term then you would on average have 6.14x your original investment. To match this with kids a couple would need to produce 12-13 kids (2 x 6.14). Financial investments beat having kids, hence the low birthrates in industrialized countries.

    Now 30 year US Treasury TIPS are yielding 1.2%, we don’t know what the long run equity returns will be going forward but it will likely be a few percent over this. Over the last 15 years, the inflation adjusted total returns (dividend reinvested) of the S&P 500 has been 1.69%. If we make slightly more optimistic assumptions of 4% (factoring in the late 90s bull market, 20 year total real returns are 5%), you get 2.19x your original investment after 20 years. Basically if a couple had 4-5 kids they can match/beat the returns from financial investments. As the demographics of industrialized countries increasingly resemble Japan, the savings absorption capacity of the economy will decrease due to increasingly unfavorable capital/humans ratio and the available returns from financial investment will tend toward 0. Some European countries already have negative interest rates on risk free government bonds, so expected equity returns going forward will likely be 1-2% a year.

    Using financial investments rather than children to finance retirement is so popular now that it’s a crowded trade. I don’t know if you have heard of the principal of maximum disappointment. The way financial markets work is to create the maximum amount of disappointment among investors. If everyone is expecting a certain return, it won’t happen.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      So we’re going to rely on our kids to get good jobs to be able to not only get ahead in life with the debt they they will have to shoulder from school but also get good jobs to pay for their families and for us on top of it all?

      I don’t think so.

      Reply
      1. J
        Jeff

        @save. spend. splurge.: Well, if financial markets really do return 1.5-2.5% over the next generation, you won’t be able to save enough to retire on your savings. If you can’t rely on your own savings and if you can’t rely on the government, who else are you going to rely on?

        As for school, I doubt my kids will have any debt from school. I would seriously discourage them from going to college if it isn’t free, it’s a big waste of time and money. University education has proven to be a poor return on investment and as more and more people attend university, the return on investment will only drop more. This is yet another crowded trade that is global in nature.

        I think the goal of getting ahead in life will prove to be unattainable for the vast majority of people in the developed countries in the next generation. The best you can hope for is to keep your current standard of living from eroding too much. I expect that my kids will acquire real job skills from apprenticeships and underbid the university graduates in the job market. As the cost of capital drops toward zero, labor will be the main expense that companies will look to cut. Besides automation this means hiring the cheapest adequate workers. Other than niche specialists, most university educated labor will increasingly become a global commodity, and in a commodity market cheapest wins.

        A few sectors like Law and Medicine and government might still have good jobs, but the competition to get into them will be increasingly intense. Those who get an university education in hopes of a shot at one of those good jobs will find that they have bought a really expensive lottery ticket.

        I think current middle class lifestyles in developed countries are not sustainable in a financial sense.

        Reply
        1. save. spend. splurge.

          1. Yourself. You would keep working if you don’t have enough money. I wouldn’t retire if I had no money left and I am unable to retire on my savings. I’d work until 90 or older because I am not able to retire. Why would I burden my children unless they are in the position to help me?

          2. I wouldn’t necessarily discourage my children from higher education; I’d discourage them from taking a degree in something that is useless that will have a low ROI. Still, it is their choice and who knows, they may end up successful.

          3. I would agree that the current middle class lifestyle is not sustainable without debt servicing it (mortgages, credit cards, loans).

          Reply
          1. J
            Jeff

            @save. spend. splurge.: We’re probably around the same age so neither of us have been old. I seriously doubt you or I can still do much real work at 90. That is a fine thing to say in your 30s, but the reality of aging catches up to you. I have seen how my parents and grandparents have changed over the years. When you start getting joint pain in cold weather and risk breaking your wrists just holding a heavy kettle of water, work is not a realistic option.

            Maybe I’m just a pessimist, but I don’t want to assume that financial markets will return 8-9% a year going forward or that I can continue to work until 90.

            As for depending on your children for your retirement, I wish we would have a broad cultural change in this direction. Modern society has turned children from people into pets, and from assets into liabilities. Our entire economy is built around compounded growth, and the foundation of that is compounded population growth. Without population growth, financial growth is impossible. Unless we restore society to a model where children are a necessity and an investment rather than a luxury and a hobby, we won’t be able to get the population growth necessary to make things sustainable.

            I think you had a bad experience with your dad. I’m not advocating parents do what your dad did. I’m advocating that people live more frugally in the present and invest the surplus in more children. If this means having less savings later on to retire on it’s fine to rely on your kids. If I had a choice between having 8 kids and no retirement savings vs 2 and being able to retire independently, I would rather have 8 kids. Sure, waiting for compound interest to work its magic is easier, but if everyone do the easy thing the world will end in disaster.

          2. save. spend. splurge.

            What I am trying to say is to not put that kind of pressure on your children to provide for themselves AND FOR YOU. If they can do it and have the means to, why not?

            Otherwise, expecting them to get good jobs and become surgeons to cover all of your expenses and theirs, is not realistic.

          3. J
            Jeff

            @save. spend. splurge.: I totally agree. Putting pressure on my kids to become surgeons would be like pressuring them to win the lottery. I’m not that unreasonable. What I had in mind was more along the lines of expecting my kids to contribute at most 10% of their after tax salary towards my living expenses. I assume that on average my kids will earn the average salary so with 4 kids I should expect 40% of average salary from my kids. CPP might contribute 10-20% and then my savings will contribute the rest. I expect to be able to live on 60% or less of average salary when I retire.

            If I have more than 4 kids (unlikely though) the contribution per kid would be less. This can only work if you have enough kids to spread the load around so it’s not a huge burden on each one. If you only have 2 kids this is unrealistic.

          4. save. spend. splurge.

            Hmm. I can see what you are saying but what if your kids (worst case scenario) end up with minimum wage jobs at $22,000 a year? Do you think they’ll be able to contribute 10% of their meager after tax salary?

          5. J
            Jeff

            @save. spend. splurge.: Well yeah in that case it would be difficult. Most likely we would have to all live together if that’s the case. The best way to maintain standard of living in hard times is to pool resources.

            I’m assuming of course my kids are of average ability. If they are all making minimum wage then the economy must be in some sort of permanent recession like Japan. In that case the stock market will probably have negative returns over a generation and interest rates will be close to 0 or negative.

            If it really came to that then investing in kids would be the only option left.

          6. save. spend. splurge.

            Ah! THAT I can agree with. Intergenerational living is something I’d be a fan of, and if Baby Bun wanted it, I’d love to have him and his family live with us or vice versa.

            I just really feel uncomfortable putting my kids in the position of being investments and telling them that’s the case. I would expect that they WOULD take care of me if I really had no savings and nowhere to go, but otherwise, I do not want to place any expected burden on them.

          7. S
            Stacie

            All of this is ignoring that your children may not want the same things you want. You can’t dictate how they live their lives once they are older and financially independent. Your children might not want to live in the same city you live in, or may choose to live alone. Planning your future welfare on them before they’re even born is selfish because you’re essentially saying that you don’t want them to have choices.

          8. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

            You make a good point.

  3. K
    Ken

    I totally feel this is part of Chinese culture as well as few others, those parents produce children expecting to be nursed emotionally, physically and financially when parents are too old to work.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Yeah, like a living retirement plan right?

      Reply
  4. E
    Emma

    My Dad is very similar to yours. Except he never had any winnings, and worked part time not for most of his life, but for the first 5 years of my life. Then he effectively `retired` at age 35 when my brother and I were 5 and 3 years old. He left it all up to my Mom to work full time, cook, clean, and look after young kids while he sat at home literally doing nothing. When I was a kid and got sick at school, he wouldn`t answer the phone. So my Mom would have to leave her job early, commute from downtown (40 min on public trans) to pick me up, only to find my Dad at home which was a 10 min walk from my school. Fast forward to now, my Dad strongly hints that I should be giving him a monthly stipend. It momentarily enrages me, until I decide that it`s not even worth my energy to get into a fight about. When I think about it, it`s actually kind of funny the way he feels so entitled. Funny or not, my answer is NO.

    Reply
  5. T
    Thee1110

    At the end of the day, misery from living with your father and his unreasonable demands will erode the joy you have created from your success. If you move out, you can still see, visit or call your mom. You can be frugal and keep your joy.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      I need to take your approach on this.

      He has since changed, by the way.

      After our fight, and after he realized that he had gone too far in swearing at me (an absolute taboo in our family and culture), he has softened.

      I think he realized I was not going to be like my siblings who are a lot sweeter and gentler than I am.

      He can’t force me to obey him and give money when it didn’t make any rational sense.

      Thank you!

      Reply
  6. N
    Nathaniel Hartley

    Wow. Not a fun situation.

    I just turned 20. I went to university last year and paid for everything– books, tuition, apartment, food, you name it– by myself. I had worked throughout high school and could just eke by in one year with the money I’d made for 6. Unfortunatly, another year was out of the picture, as my parents would not sign student loan papers either.

    Currently, I am looking at going to school for business. It is a 22 week course with 95% of its students finding a job within 2 months of graduating. The tuition is just under $8000 for books, the course, and a laptop with the required programs which is supplied at a reduced cost. I cannot afford it– I have worked since I’ve been out of university, but I’ve also been paying insurance, rent, gas, food, etc. Hours are also cut after the holiday season is over. I’m so lucky to be in a committed relationship so things are easier to afford as a pair. However, mentioning to my parents that I could only realistically do this at the moment only brought backlash, such as “you borrowed $500 from us, that should have been enough” and “just work for another year.” 22 weeks and theres a huge chance I’d be making twice as much 2 months after school, and they won’t provide anything. I by no means expect them to pay for it, but just some help until I can pay them back. My father makes a lot of money, but he has recently moved to a job that makes less. Not much less, but that’s their excuse to brush me off, though they’ve been telling me I need to get an education and that they’d help if I went to art school. Art school? And make nothing, go back to retail work, gah.

    It’s not like they’ve done nothing for me, because they did supply my laptop for school. My father and I have never had a great relationship so I guess he feels like he owes me nothing, and I guess he doesn’t! It’s just too bad that they wont offer me a loan for even the first down payment so I could pay the rest with earnings from my job and pay them back once I was placed in a job by the school.

    …sigh.

    Reply
    1. N
      Nathaniel Hartley

      I had also unwillingly gave them money when I was younger– for what, smokes and beer? Either way, they had raided my bank account a few times, so that hurts as well. It just kind of makes you feel like you’re not worth anything, eh?

      Reply
      1. M
        Mochi & Macarons

        I’m pretty sure my dad fudged numbers under my name as a kid, and I must have signed stuff without knowing. It does make you feel very strange finding all of this out.

        …which is also why I refuse to mix my money with my parents. It’s under my name, or their name. Not both.

        Reply
    2. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      “Currently, I am looking at going to school for business. It is a 22 week course with 95% of its students finding a job within 2 months of graduating. ”

      This made me very nervous, reading that.

      Are you thinking of a business course in a FOR-PROFIT school like Phoenix University, or something like that?

      If so, be very nervous and wary when they tell you “$8K for just 22 weeks”. It isn’t considered a real degree by many employers, and they’re just taking your money in most cases. You may not end up in anything better than temp office jobs, doing data entry.

      As for your situation, it sounds like it’s harder on you than mine was on me. I am also sympathizing with you that you can’t get a loan on your own.

      Art school however, is not a good option, and I am not sure why they told you that….

      Reply
  7. A
    Ariana

    I am sorry you have to go through this. It sounds like your dad needs a trip to a third-world country (by himself) and reflect on how it would be like to be without family around.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      He just needs to realize how lucky he is, compared to what others don’t have to look forward to. A healthy, average family that is happy, is better than one that is broken but rich.

      Reply
  8. S
    Sara

    I’m so sorry to hear this, and it touched a nerve with me, too. Liam grew up in a very poor area of the country, and his mother raised her children with the hope that they would be able to “get out”. And L is the only one who did. His mother doesn’t expect a thing from him (which is why I’m fully supportive of helping her out later in life), but I see this attitude in his siblings that he owes them something because of his success. We’re all in our twenties; I can’t imagine how they’re going to be if and when the income disparity grows even further.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      Oh I’m sure they feel entitled to his success, even not having worked for it the way he did.

      That sounds so familiar.

      Maybe you’ll have to pretend you don’t have money.

      Reply
  9. maz

    I went through the same situation albeit with my sister, not my dad. I’ve given her so much money over the years and she’s never been grateful and always asked for me ( and we’re talking, between my mum and me, around €50,000 ). We’ve asked many rows but I decided shortly after I had my second daughter, that I was not her piggy bank. After that, we did not talk for years and now, well, we’re in speaking terms but the love’s not there. But I don’t care. I won’t spend another penny on her and she knows it. Stick to what you feel is right and just get on with it. You don’t owe your dad anything ( at least not in term of money ). All the best.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      The hardest part is realizing that he equates money with love and respect. It’s not how I was raised, and it is NOT how I want to raise my own kids either. I’m not spending a penny, and hearing your story makes me more resolved to not give him anything.

      Reply
  10. A
    Amy

    Oh I feel for you! I am Asian, too, but in a different situation. My parents are getting older, to where I’m not sure whether they can live on their own for much longer (dad forgets things more often now, he’s done a couple of things like leaving the car engine on when parking, or forgetting where stores that he’s been going to for 30+ years are) So, we may have them come live with us. They’ve never asked me or my siblings for money, and we can all afford to give them money, but whenever I’ve tried to give any to him, he refuses it. It’s a matter of pride for him. They paid for our college educations, too.

    Your father sounds amazingly shallow and selfish. But you know you can’t change him, which means that you can only control your own attitude towards the situation. If I were you, I would just steer the conversation away to something else if he starts to bring it up again. You can’t resolve anything by arguing over it, because he’s going to stick to his conviction that you owe him, and it will just make you madder because you can’t change his mind. Good luck!

    BTW, I do have a son, and I don’t expect anything monetary from him when he grows up. I’m too Americanized to have the Asian expectations. 🙂

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      I hear stories like this of your parents and it kind of makes me sad I don’t have the same sort of relationship.

      It’s also really nice that you’d want your parents to live with you. I actually was considering and planning for that about 2 years ago when BF and I were talking about what to do if our parents had problems, but now I am not so sure I’d let him in the house with me.

      My mom, yes. My father, no. I can’t believe I am talking like this and I have to separate out who I want to allow to live with me.

      I also can’t believe that he’s my dad and he’s acting like this. *sigh* But I hear it’s more common than I’d like to believe.

      Reply
      1. A
        Amy

        Do your parents expect to come live with you? I’m the oldest, so naturally it falls to me. I’m lucky my husband is open to it (he’s not Asian). However, he is concerned about how this would affect me. He thinks having them come live with us would really stress me out. He’s probably right. 🙂

        Reply
        1. M
          Mochi & Macarons

          They don’t expect a nursing home, but there are 4 of us. Oldest or not, it falls on whoever who will take them. It might end up being my sister living at home with them and taking care of them with our help.

          I’m thinking about not doing ANY of that though. This is how bad this has gotten.

          Reply
  11. Anne @ Unique Gifter

    Wow, that’s a poopy situation! It’s all about sentiment, heh. My Mom always jokes that my brother plans to keep her “in the manner I’d like to be accustomed to,” but it’s completely a joke. My spouse and I differ on how we plan to give things to our parents and it’s a bone of contention. I grew up with my parents springing for the occasional big trip, etc for their parents. ie – Sending my grandparents on a cruise for their 25th Anniversary. Whereas my spouse didn’t witness this and thinks that it’s ridiculous. Heh. We will continue to fight this battle for a long time. We both had our education heavily subsidized by our parents and they still insist on spending money on us, even though we are pretty darn rich by national standards.
    I’m glad that you can clearly delineate between your situation and your cousins and it sucks that your father is not noticing the major nuances. Good luck dealing with this one!

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      My dad doesn’t see anything, because he doesn’t want to see what doesn’t benefit him.

      I’ve come to the realization that he has always been about himself. He hasn’t actually done anything for anyone else aside from the token things, or getting pushed into it by my mother.

      Reply
  12. Preethi

    I usually do not comment, but this topic is something close to my heart. My son from my first marriage lives with me and I had to fight pretty hard to get his custody (and I mean pretty hard). My second husband does not pay for my son’s upkeep and neither do I expect him to. Now when my son goes to University, I have a choice to help him with his tuition by taking out from my savings or he could take a massive loan (£9,000 / year is the cheapest tuition available). Because I love my son (more than I love myself to be frank), I would help him out. So now to the stark point – do I expect him to give me a pension in my old age if he is doing well? YOU BET I DO…..I would even demand it.

    And yes I am Asian.

    Coming to your post – yes I can understand your position and would do the same.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      Yes but you’re helping him out, and he will remember that and help you out.

      My father has gone against my mother at every turn in helping out the children, and is basically selfish, to the point of idiocy.

      Reply
  13. C
    Christiane

    I’m very sorry you had such a bad fight. You must be really angry, and it’s your right to be. I remember you writing something similar about one of your siblings, who always wanted you to pay for restaurant bills and didn’t ever invite you. Is this maybe a pattern that exceeds your father? Everyone has a certain role in their family, don’t let them make you their personal piggy bank.

    Just try to have some good time with your bf and think about something else. Maybe go to a spa or the cinema, just get a little distracted. Every day you spend angry is not worth it, because your dad has caused you enough trouble already. Don’t let him take more good days from you.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      You’re right, but it’s hard for me to separate the emotions right now.

      He’s giving me the silent treatment and these looks, and my mom is stressed out on the other side because she never asked for any of this.

      Now he’s just graduated to being outright RUDE, even when we greet him politely, he ignores us.

      Reply
      1. C
        Christiane

        I really understand how tough this emotional challenge is for you. Just give it some time. You’ve made your point, and he will come down again after some time. Maybe it will take months, but it will eventually happen. Move somewhere else asap, and ignore him, too. The distance will help you. Maybe you can write him a letter in several weeks, when your emotions have calmed down too, and explain your point of view again to him, in a less “explosive” way. You could also invite you Mom visit you for some days, so you two can spend some time together.

        Reply
  14. hereverycentcounts

    Wow. That sounds like a pretty terrible situation. I think you’re definitely in the right here, but different cultures and families have different expectations of what children “owe” them. However, as you point out, they don’t need the money.

    This most makes me feel terrible as my parents did pay for my college education and when I go home to visit them I generally take them up on their offer to pay for my meals. Whenever I offer to pay my dad makes an embarrassingly big deal out of it to anyone around, including the waiter “do you see that? My daughter is buying me lunch/dinner/etc.” I can’t tell if he wants me to pay all the time or if he just wants to mock me whenever possible. Hence why I don’t go home that often.

    But your situation is different. Your parents clearly view you as an extension to their bank account. You’re right, kids are not an investment. If a child does well in their lives and wants to give gifts to their parents, then that’s one thing, but expecting it is another.

    It’s unfortunate that this is hurting your relationship with your parents. It sounds like you’d be best to move out asap to cut ties as much as possible. Also, if you purchase a house and show that all your money is tied up paying a mortgage, perhaps your parents will realize you cannot afford to pay a $500/month gift surcharge on being their child every month.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      It sounds to me like he is proud you are paying for the meals. My family points that out too, but it’s a PROUD thing to say.

      I hate going back home and having my dad (not my mom) treat me like some piggy bank to mooch money off on.

      THEY DON’T NEED THE MONEY.

      I’m really only here for my mom, not for my dad, in the end. We’re moving as soon we as get something, but we were planning on leaving anyway, it’s just that we thought it would be nice to spend time with my mom. 😐

      Reply
      1. hereverycentcounts

        It’s just the way he says it. It’s in a taunting way. I’m sure if I paid for meals all the time he would just expect it and not say anything. If I do it once in a while he mocks me about it. It’s crazy that your dad wants money from you when they don’t need it. That doesn’t make any sense.

        Reply
  15. P
    Pauline

    I really don’t get the paying back your parents for the sacrifice they made. They chose to have kids. I see it a lot with Asian families, but usually the parents are first generation migrants and not living very well, while the kids worked hard for a college degree and want their parents to enjoy a comfortable retirement. Yet, it is the kid’s initiative to give back.

    In your uncle’s case, I think it is completely useless since he is a millionaire, and the money they will inherit back will be heavily taxed, so basically every $100 they give him, they’ll receive $60 back. Now that is a bad investment. If my parents were struggling financially, I would help them pay for a nursing home or food, but not if they were able to work and didn’t want to.

    Your parents charge you a great deal of money, I thought it was just food but $600 is a lot more than the extra utility bills! And $4000 with no mortgage should be more than enough.

    When I go back home I sometimes stay 1-2 months with my mum she doesn’t charge me anything and pays for food. I cook, clean and help fix stuff but it would never occur to her to charge me, she is a teacher so not rich but there is a sense of being the parent and taking care of the kid she won’t change.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      Which is exactly it — it’s not like they worked hard and to the bone like other families, and it is usually the kids that say: Let me help you out.

      I’m of the same mindset — I’ll help if I have to, but they don’t need the money.

      $600 is JUST the rent for 2 (he wanted $1200, as in $600 each PERSON).

      Then I ALSO pay for food, cook, clean, etc.

      I was extremely upset from the whole screaming match we had. Now we’re not speaking.

      Reply
  16. Michelle

    I don’t comment often (or at all), but I want to say that I really like this post (though it’s not the happiest one). Good ranting! I agree with your thoughts and support what you say! 🙂

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      Thanks. It had to come out. Happy or not.. 🙂 Money isn’t happy all the time.

      Reply
  17. Janine

    I feel like this might be causing some of the anxiety you are having =( I’m sorry your dad thinks he is entitled to your money. You’re situations aren’t the same and I think you are really smart for standing your ground. Good for you! Now maybe try and go for something relaxing… like wine. =)

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      Oh I don’t drink… 🙂 But I’ll find something to do.

      Reply

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